Starting when we are children, we learn that food tastes good. We start to explore different tastes and textures, soon learning there are foods we prefer.
However, as we get older, we become more and more busy. This busyness in our lives can mean a rushed 10-minute lunch at our desk or on the road in our car. It certainly does not give us time to explore our food.
Mindful eating is rooted in teachings from Buddhist monks, which encourage you to slow down and consciously take part in the eating experience. The benefits include a more tasteful, conscious encounter, better mind-digestive system coordination, and a more satisfying satiety.
Eat food that takes work. It will help you get involved with your dining experience while nurturing the healthy habit of knowing what you are eating.
Here are four easy ways to get started:
- Slow down. Follow hunger cues. This is much easier to determine when you take a second to ask yourself, “Am I hungry?”
- Welcome the silence. Atmosphere is a huge factor when eating. Start by removing distractions and electronic devices. Avoid overindulging in unhealthy foods, which often happens while your attention is elsewhere.
- Enjoy the flavor. Now that it’s quiet and there are no distractions, you can realign your attention to the aromas and textures of your food. Yum!
- Learn about food. Take time to find out what is in season in your community. Try visiting your local farmers market for a great look at what foods are available this time of year.
By practicing mindful eating, you may be surprised to see a shift toward healthier cravings and portion sizes – giving your body the balance and quality it deserves. When you are mindful, you slow down and enjoy your food. You are also less likely to overeat, because your body has time to realize you are full.
Are you sick of tight pants and unbearable physical activities? As people age, it can become more difficult to lose those extra pounds. You may have an injury or condition that prevents you from exercising as you once did. There are ways to continue to improve your health even as you age.
Here are ﬁve easy tips for a healthier you:
- Identify choices. Reﬂect and modify as necessary. This may mean cutting out fast food or eliminating dessert to get started.
- Replace carbs with more vegetables. Eliminate carbohydrates since these turn into sugar and store fat in your body. Look at food labels and beware: Carbs are in more than you think!
- Discipline. Discipline. Discipline. Find a workout buddy and visit your local farmers market for fresh produce.
- Remember: One size does not fit all. This means what you eat, your portions and workout routines may be different from your neighbors, and that’s OK. Embrace what works for your body.
- Stay informed. Awareness is key. Visit your primary care physician for great resources and continue learning about staying healthy.
- When you adopt a mindful approach to living, you are better able to enjoy your food and our movement more. Notice your body’s cues – the tips your body gives you when you are full or when you are in need of a break at work – and listen to your mind and your heart.
For heart health tips from Beebe Healthcare physicians to help you live a healthier life, go to www.beebehealthcare.org/health-hub.